CD56 (NCAM) expression in ameloblastomas and other odontogenic lesions. Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS: Ameloblastomas recapitulate certain elements of tooth formation. CD56 is expressed by a variety of cells and is used in tumour diagnosis, but is also expressed in the enamel organ during tooth development. The aim of this study was to describe the expression of CD56 in odontogenic lesions with particular reference to the differential diagnosis of ameloblastoma and odontogenic keratocyst. METHODS: Cases were selected from the pathology archives at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle and Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas. The study population included 38 ameloblastomas, 19 odontogenic keratocysts and a number of other odontogenic lesions, including nine compound odontomes. All sections were examined for CD56 immunoreactivity and the extent of staining was recorded. RESULTS: Thirty-seven of 38 (97%) ameloblastomas expressed CD56 on the cell membrane of peripheral cells in tumour nests (16 extensively, 21 focally). Immunoreactivity was lost in areas of inflammation, acanthomatous differentiation, in areas of cystic change and upon fusion with overlying surface epithelium. One odontogenic keratocyst expressed CD56 (5%, P<0.0001). CD56 was expressed very focally in two odontomes, exclusively in stratum intermedium-like cells. CONCLUSIONS: CD56 expression in odontogenic epithelium is highly suggestive of ameloblastoma and can help in differentiating this from odontogenic keratocyst.

published proceedings

  • Histopathology

author list (cited authors)

  • Cairns, L., Naidu, A., Robinson, C. M., Sloan, P., Wright, J. M., & Hunter, K. D.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Cairns, Lindsey||Naidu, Aparna||Robinson, Conrad Max||Sloan, Philip||Wright, John M||Hunter, Keith D

publication date

  • October 2010